Tag Archives: reflection

The Power of Music on Our Emotion and Memory

            For centuries, music has been a marker of culture, and has evolved alongside with humanity through our ever-changing times. The purpose of music, as well as its influence on our society, has shifted from an effective method of courtship (when men would write songs for women to “woo” them), into a medium of entertainment that are important for social gatherings, such as parties. Nowadays, music has been assimilated into our daily lives, as it has the power to instill a specific mood in us, based on the beat or tone of its sounds. It’s quite interesting to ponder the idea of how and why music affects our emotions so much.  Personally, I believe that music a very key component in my life, and find myself relying on it as a coping mechanism during times of sadness, anger, nervousness, or generally when I need a good “pick-me-up.” Every morning, I usually play music from the “Colbie Calliat” Pandora radio station as I get ready for school in order to lift my mood up and mentally prepare myself for the day. Music is intricate, thus, so are our preferences.  The type of music someone likes can actually be a window into their personality. It’s as if our iPods or music playlists are our personal “About Me” pages with specified personality traits spelled out in the moods or lyrics of each song.

Hm…they listen to a lot of Colbie Calliat, so they’re probably chill, carefree, and have that beach vibe going on.

             Music also has the capability to deeply engrain memories in our minds by stimulating another sense besides sight, resulting in a heightened retention of that time.  For many people, floods of recollections accompanied with emotions usually follow after hearing a song that is significant to that particular experience.  So when outdated “hits” are played, you’ll often notice people expressing some sort of emotion, whether it’s positive or negative, as they recollect the memories associated with those songs. For example, I’ll never forget the memories I made while performing songs as a guest singer with the Japanese Konan Boys’ Jazz Band at various malls. Whenever “Just Friends,” “Fly Me To The Moon,” and “When I Fall In Love” play through my headphones, I get this exhilarating rush of nervousness, adrenaline, and happiness all over again as I’m transported back to the very stages where I performed in front of hundreds of people, with the sound of jazz instruments behind me and my heart beating in my ears. Music has allowed me to relive the moment over and over again in my mind, which is a true blessing to be able to do such an extraordinary thing. With its ability to evoke strong feelings in our hearts and change our emotional state completely, it’s no wonder it’s stuck with us for all these years.

Thoughts on Language

“Language was the real innovation in our biological evolution; everything since has just made our words travel faster or last longer” – Steven Pinker

One of the main factors that make us so different from animals is our use of language. Our unique ways of communication allows us to interact with other human beings on a level completely different from most organisms. Most animals (as far as we know) communicate through sounds, facial expressions, and other biological signals to convey a general message. The fact that we can eloquently communicate our ideas effectively is how we have become so successful in advancing our civilization.  Without language, ideas would not have spread as quickly, as far, or last as long as it does now. A concrete language has allowed faraway populations to unite with a common idea in mind. It’s quite amazing.

EMOTION: Does the way you describe something affect how you feel about it? What is the power of language? What roles do context, emotion, selection, emphasis, and word choice play in language?

Even if two words mean the same thing, they may have different connotations based on the sound or the way it’s used in popular language. Language is so strange in the fact that it’s constantly shifting and has basic concrete terms that can be used with other words to create a completely different meaning; for example, the oxymoron: “beautiful disaster. Personally, the connotation of beauty is something graceful, light (sometimes white), and/or something intricate/simplistic, while the connotation of disaster is something destructive, violent, black, and associated with grief and pain. The effect of these two words mashed together lightens the term, and gives a new meaning to the word “disaster.”

5. To what extent is your use of languages accompanied by images? Does every word conjur up an image or only some of them?

The main types of words that conjur up images in my mind are nouns and specific adjectives that describe how something physically feels or looks. On the other hand, abstract terms, verbs, emotions, and anything that isn’t concrete have no associated image.

8. Many jokes are based on ambuguity…can you give an example?

How do you make a turtle fast?
Take away his food.

10. Birds fly and planes fly. Since fish swim, why don’t we say that submarines also swim? What do submarines do? (propel)

I guess the reason why the verb “fly” can be applied to “planes” in the same manner it’s used for “birds” is because of the structure of the plane is similar to a bird’s when it’s flying: “wings” outstretched. It’s also interesting how the term “wings” is the same. Perhaps planes have a closer resemblance to birds than submarines do to fish. Submarines don’t “swim” through the water like fish do; rather they “propel” through it using a “propeller” from the back. When I think of swimming, I imagine fish or people using their fins or arms in a very active motion to get through the water. But with submarines, they’re not animate at all as they move through the water in a straight line. It’s clear that the motion of “propelling” is very mechanical, while “swimming” is mainly used for living things.   

11. What would be the advantages and disadvantages of everyone in the world spoke a common language? What would be gained and what would be lost?

If everyone in the world spoke a common language, it would be quite convenient for political affairs and businesses as there would not be any more worry of an “error in translation.” Social interactions would be much more interesting too as we could communicate effectively with people from all around the world. But then again, what good would that be when cultures would be lost as a result of this? Diverse language is a big component in culture as it is evidence of how the people from that specific area developed over time. Some cultures have vocabulary words for objects or ideas that aren’t even relevant in any other culture, so this change would definitely have a negative impact since these words would have to be erased in the “common language” if deemed irrelevant to the rest of the world.

15. Take 2 advertising slogans of your choice and explain why you think they are effective (or not)

“Just Do It” is an effective slogan by the sports company, Nike, since it tunes into the inner conscience that tries to motivate you to be more physically active.

The Mcdonald’s “I’m lovin’ it” slogan utilizes a similar method by tuning into the ideal person’s thoughts when they eat food from this restaurant ( Mcdonald’s fries and strawberry milkshakes are unfortunately a guilty pleasure of mine). It forms a preconceived notion of the quality of food served and may subconsciously — through the power of suggestion– influence the customer to like the food more.

19. Do you agree with the old rhyme “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”?

As trivial as name-calling may seem, it still has quite a long lasting effect that could be equally as impactful (or exceedingly) as physical pain. One’s mental health is just as vital as their physical health, and is unfortunately, not looked over often enough when it comes to bullying. It’s very easy to get hurt and form insecurities from the insults and nasty words spewed by bullies, regardless if it’s in person or online. This is especially so when these words bring attention to physical attributes that someone may already feel unconfident about. These words begin to haunt the victim and, in severe cases, drive them to the edge. No type of harassment, whether it’s physical or verbal, should be deemed as “minor “ comparatively, as they all have an equally dangerous potential to ruin lives.

Senses: Touch and Hearing Reflection

 

Touch:

Nonsexual touch has many clear effects on people, and can be used to manipulate, communicate, attract, instigate aggression, and increase helping behavior in people. http://www.spring.org.uk/2011/04/10-psychological-effects-of-nonsexual-touch.php

This article further elaborates on the effects of a touch, for example a brush on the arm, and how it increases the chances of attracting that certain someone. http://www.sparknotes.com/mindhut/2012/03/23/dating-with-science-touch-a-girls-arm-and-she-will-basically-fall-in-love-with-you

Touch is actually like a language in itself in the fact that humans can clearly communicate emotions through it, especially compassion. An experiment was conducted where two strangers were separated by a barrier and were told to convey emotions through a hole in the wall where they may touch each other’s hands.

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/hands_on_research

In many different countries, touch is “an important component of communication and social harmony. This is especially evident in the Mediterranean, South American, and Arabic cultures, where touching is significant in conveying messages such as “we are OK,” and is assumed that lack of physical touch every now and then means that there’s something wrong.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/spycatcher/200912/the-body-language-touch

“For three days as part of an installation in the National Art Museum of Ukraine,” women are chosen to act as “sleeping beauties” and participate in a contract where they may meet their prince charming. Different men throughout the day will kiss them while they’re “asleep,” and if the women open their eyes after the kiss, they must marry the man that woke them up. It shows how reliant people will be towards touch for matters such as love. Just a simple kiss is all the woman has to decide whether or not he is “the one” to marry. Much emotion can be conveyed through a kiss, so the women must be very sensitive to the feeling they get, as it is crucial.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/9494831/Sleeping-beauties-seek-fairytale-love-at-Ukraine-art-installation.html

The definition of “touch illusions,” are “illusions that exploit the sense of touch.” An example would be “if a person wears a baseball cap for a long period of time and then takes it off, it may still be felt.”

http://psychology.wikia.com/wiki/Touch_illusion

Hearing:

The “cocktail party effect” is our ability to focus on a single voice (or sound), despite all of the distracting noise equally or louder than the focused voice. However as a consequence, we can only focus on that voice; we are unable to multi-task and focus to more than one, quite like tunnel visioning.

http://www.spring.org.uk/2009/03/the-cocktail-party-effect.php

A study by the University of British Columbia has shown that creativity can be enhanced if tasks are done in the presence of blue settings, and a moderate amount of ambient noise.

http://bigthink.com/insights-of-genius/environmental-cues-that-boost-creativity

Beethoven’s deafness may have influenced the types of notes used in his music. As his condition worsened, he began using lower notes more frequently in his pieces since he could no longer hear the higher sounds. When he was completely deaf, his music shifted back to how it used to be as he relied on his “inner ear.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/25/beethoven-deafness-music_n_1163636.html

According to an experimental study that won the IG Nobel Prize, the louder the sound of the crunch, the more appealing and pleasurable it is to eat that food, http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/08/07/the-sound-of-taste/

Opsound is an “open sound pool” where anyone can enjoy, mix, and upload sound files that can be literally anything, from weird sounds, original songs, instrumentals, recordings, etc.

http://opsound.org/

“Make the City Sound Better” is a campaign in London that is transforming the way the city sounds. Through “The Sound Taxi,” a microphone records the hustling and bustling of traffic and other loud, unpleasant noises to generate music in real time. It was quite an incredible project, as it demonstrated the dynamics of the city in an enjoyable experience.

http://makethecitysoundbetter.com/